Man Earns Jail Time for Hoax Coast Guard Calls

August 28, 2015

Yachting Journal

A man found guilty of making numerous hoax calls to the U.K. Coastguard has been jailed for four months, the U.K. Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) reported.
Alasdair Munro, 55, from Kyleakin, Skye, denied all charges before Sheriff Scott at Portree Sheriff Court on August 27, 2015, but was found guilty of an offence contrary to the Communications Act 2003 section 127, according to the MCA.
Munro had reportedly called HM Coastguard several times on October 30, 2013, claiming a yacht was lost in Loch Hourn. Munro said he had spoken to someone on VHF radio stating that they were lost in Loch Hourn and didn’t know how to get out.
The call led to the deployment of a Mallaig RNLI Lifeboat and Kyle Coastguard Rescue Teams to search for the vessel, but the yacht Munro claimed to have heard from was not found.
Upon interviewing Munro, Police found cause to believe the calls to the Coastguard had been a hoax, MCA said.
Sheriff Scott said that in his view Munro was guilty of the offence beyond reasonable doubt, and that his actions were an extremely serious office.
Jackie Mackenzie, HM Coastguard, said, “The important thing is that the hoax caller was found and punished. HM Coastguard fully supports the action of the police and the court in dealing with this offence. Hoax calls can, and in this case did tie up a valuable maritime Search and Rescue resource.”
Mackenzie added, “Those who risk their own safety to rescue others should also not be put at needless risk in responding to hoax distress calls.”
Coastguard AgencyHM CoastguardUK Coastguard